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Interview #3: Diana Kampe Ultrarunner

Please tell us a bit about your childhood and family. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Southern part of Denmark in Northern Europe. I grew up in a lovely and idyllic family with my brother Daniel, who is four years younger than me. I have always been active and did a lot of swimming as a child, and in my teens, it was like now, training every day. When I was 21 years, I went out traveling, and four years later, I settled down in the beautiful capital of Sweden, Stockholm.

What's your profession?

I'm a finance manager in a large international company, with the responsibility for a shared service center for the Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden).

Have you always been interested in sports/running?

I started running when I was 38 years old, to my surprise, I understood at once that I liked running and that I was not too bad at running short and long distances. Before 2012, I did not do sports at all since my teens, so it was a real surprise that I turned out to be a runner.

Diana Kampe Trekking

At what age you got involved with ultrarunning? Do you participate in any other sport like triathlon / Ironman?

My first race at 38 years was a 10k race I advanced fast, and 8 months later, I ran my first marathon. Shortly after that I ran my first ultra race, a "short" 50k race.

When I turned 40 years in 2014, I did "a Swedish Classic" (En svensk klassiker), which is a 30k trail run, a 300 k bike race, 3 k swimming in a river, and Vasaloppet, which is a 90 k cross country skiing race. All four races within nine months. Besides this adventure five years ago, I prefer running.

In how many ultramarathons have you participated?

I'm not sure, but a lot. The most important races that I remember best are my 3 Spartathlon finishers in 2017, 2018 and 2019, My Danish national record in 6 days running in 2016, and a few other really long races.

How do you prepare for an ultra?

A lot of different areas need preparation, and it is different if the race is on a track. You have your table and support besides the track, or if it's a race from point A to B. First and most importantly, you need to do a lot of daily training, running sessions up to 6 hours, I do yoga and sleep 8-9 hours per night. You need to train your stomach to eat during long races so that you won't be sick. Your apparel, shoes, backpack, etc. need to be tested and used on long sessions. You must trust your gear when you are out there in your race.

Diana Kampe Ultra Marathon

What's the longest distance you've run?

In one session, the longest distance I covered is Spartathlon 246 k, the longest distance I have been running is 1005 k, and during my first six days race I ran 614 k, but then you do shorter sleeps 10 minutes to 90 minutes.

How do you prepare mentally for such a grueling event?

For years I had a mental coach, today I make sure that I am prepared, sleep well, and eat healthy. Then my brain also knows that it is prepared.

What's more, challenging the mental or physical aspect?

For sure, the mental aspect. You know it will hurt, you know you will be tired, and without energy, you also know that you will be suffering. But it is all worth it when you reach your goal!

What would you recommend to people that practice running or other sports at a more basic level, but that are interested in progressing to marathons and ultramarathons?

Start slow and do more day for day. Do not stress your body; if not, you will get injured. Go from 10 k to half-marathon, then to marathon and then start maybe with a 100k race and see what kind of race you like. Are you a road runner or a trail runner. There is a lot of things you need to explore on your way.

Diana Kampe Training

What diet do you follow?

I mostly eat plant-based, but I also need a little meat, so I add fish, eggs, and white meat like chicken.

How do you prepare nutrition-wise? What do you eat before, during, and after an ultramarathon?

I prefer drinking Tailwind Nutrition, adding bread, fruit, potato, chocolate. On multiday races, you usually need food.

How have you've been able to train with the current Covid-19 crisis?

Yes, I mostly run outside and do my yoga home on my own. Then I have both a cross trainer and trade mill at home.

Will you be participating in any Ultramarathon soon?

For now, most races are canceled, but let's see what will happen at the end of 2020. Nothing is planned due to the situation in the world. I do most of my races abroad, and now it's not possible to travel.

Diana Kampe Ultra Race

Your Instagram profile mentions you are part of Denmark's National 24 hour Running Team. Please tell us about it.

Since I'm both Danish and Swedish citizen, I have been representing Denmark during the EC 2016 and the WC in 2017. I hope I will be able to participate in more championships.

Where can people know more about you?

You can follow me on Instagram @dianaultrarunner, and I'm working on a website that is not ready yet: www.dianakampe.com

If you have questions, you are welcome to contact me with a DM on Instagram.

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